Sorry, y'all. I've been trying to write a post to put the baseball team's recent struggles into perspective, but there's only so many ways to say that we need Trey Watkins to get healthy, find a third baseman, and the pitching flat out sucks. So, pretend I wrote that post and I found some way to make that interesting. Instead, let's take our minds off the worst baseball losing streak in a decade by whining about football.
Doc Saturday asked the question of whether the SEC is too top heavy, and he's got a good point. Alabama and Florida have combined to go 31-1 against the rest of the SEC over the past two seasons, which doesn't speak too highly of the conference's depth. Go ask the average LSU fan how good last year's team was and the answer will probably involve the words "terrible", "slide into mediocrity", and maybe a stabbing, depending on your tone. And LSU finished THIRD in the conference.
That's right, folks. LSU was the third best team in the SEC last season, and the general consensus on last year's team was that it wasn't terribly good. Which doesn't speak highly for LSU, but it certainly doesn't speak well for the "toughest conference in America."
So, are we doomed for a new Thousand Year Reich* of bowing to our Tide and Gator overlords? Or is the SEC's version of the Normandy invasion looming on the horizon?
*Ed note - I'm not saying that Alabama is the football equivalent of the Nazis, just that I am fearful of their dynasty. I would never point out that they are a fanatical group of people whipped into a fervor by a charismatic dictator who demands all of the powers of the state. Alabama, as far as I know, has never rounded up Auburn fans into concentration camps or invaded Arkansas. But I wouldn't put it past them.
Well, who knows? Alabama and Florida are the rightful favorites in each division, but it's not like there aren't cracks in the armor. Matt Hinton pointed at a lot of them in his article, so there's no reason to go over them again. I will just add that football is cyclical and that a team's dominance seems like it will be eternal when you have to live through it, but in retrospect, all periods of dominance end.
It wasn't all that long ago that it seemed we were dawning a new era of dominance of the SEC by LSU in Georgia. From 2001-2005, LSU and Georgia each appeared in three SEC title games and won two. LSU and UGA faced off twice in that five year span. The power had shifted to Baton Rouge and Athens, right? Well, not really. Since 2005, LSU has one SEC title and Georgia has not even made it to Atlanta. The last two title games have been showdowns between Florida and Alabama.
And it wasn't all that long ago that this was the way of the SEC as well. Florida and Alabama played each other in four of the first five SEC title games, and the fifth game was won by Florida over Arkansas. 1992-1996 was another five year period of extreme dominance. They even reprised the matchup in 1999, Alabama's only division title from 1997 to 2007. Florida's fallow period was far more brief, it was just the five year stretch coinciding with Georgia's dominance.
And now we've had two straight years of Florida-Alabama again. All things that were old are new again, and it seems like the two programs have a hammerlock on the title game. But the brief history of the SEC title game shows that dominance must end. Hell, there hasn't been a repeat SEC champion since 1998, and it was Tennessee that pulled the trick. There is hope. As hard as it is to win the SEC, it's even harder to keep winning it.
Alabama will go into the season as the preseason #1 and a heavy favorite to win not just the SEC title, but the national title. They have blue chip talent at every position, not to mention the defending Heisman Trophy winner. They have the Dark Lord coaching them and he is certainly one of the best coaches in the nation. Alabama looks poised to launch a new dynasty and dominate the SEC for a decade. To this, I can only tell my fellow Tiger fans, it is always darkest before the dawn. Vive la resistance!